Twin bombings rocked the city of Kerman in southern Iran during a commemoration event, the fourth anniversary of the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani.
The explosions, occurring minutes apart, targeted crowds gathered to honor the spymaster, resulting in a toll of at least 84 lives lost and over 280 individuals wounded.
The first explosion occurred around 3:00 p.m. local time near the Kerman Martyrs Cemetery, approximately 700 meters from Soleimani’s grave.
The second blast, more destructive than the first, took place about 15 minutes later, around 1 kilometer away from the cemetery, targeting individuals who had fled the attack.
Iranian authorities initially reported a death toll of 95, but it was later revised down to 84 as the head of Iran’s emergency services clarified the figures.
The wounded, numbering over 280, included civilians and even a paramedic who was hit by the second explosion while responding to the first.
Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a statement promising a harsh response to what he described as a cowardly act.
As of now, no group has claimed responsibility for the bombings. President Ebrahim Raisi’s political deputy, Mohammad Jamshidi, pointed fingers at Israel and the United States, alleging their involvement.
However, the U.S denied any indication of Israeli responsibility and dismissed the accusations. Speculations suggest that Arab separatists and Sunni jihadist groups, including the Islamic State (IS), could be culprits, given their history of attacks in Iran.
The targeted commemoration event is the anniversary of the death of General Qasem Soleimani, who was assassinated in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq in 2020.
Soleimani, the head of the Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force, was a figure in regional military activities.
His death escalated tensions between the U.S. and Iran, with the Iranian government accusing the U.S. of international terrorism and issuing arrest warrants for President Donald Trump and other officials.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed condolences, while the European Union condemned the attack in the strongest terms.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the incident shocking in its cruelty and cynicism. Several Gulf countries, Turkey, and China also denounced the attacks.
While the motive behind the bombings remains unclear, the incident occurred amid regional tensions. The killing of Saleh al-Arouri, a deputy leader of the Iran-backed Palestinian group Hamas, in an Israeli drone strike in Lebanon the day before is the volatile atmosphere.
Interior Minister Ahmad Vahid stated that an investigation had been launched to determine the perpetrators of the attack.
Conflicting reports emerged regarding the method of detonation, with some sources suggesting remote control and others alluding to the possibility of suicide attackers.
The attack comes at a time when various factors, including the Israel-Hamas conflict and Middle East dynamics, contribute to a security environment.